Friday, May 27, 2016

The Best Ramen in Town - Vest Ramen in Town by Erra's Grill

I found myself alone last night. All my friends have their own activities to attend to. So i decided to check out this ramen place I've been meaning to try since I've read about it in a food blog a few months back. The place is called Vest Ramen in Town by Erra's grill. I wasn't sure if they meant Best Ramen or what but since the blogger recommended it, I decided to give it a try.

The blog said it is a no-frills ramen house. It's located along a busy street in Malate, Manila. It is an open place, no walls to 'separate' you from passers-by. Yes, you'll get to inhale free smoke from cars, dust from the street and eveything else that's there.

Anyway, I got there at around 8 pm. The place was packed but lucky for me, a table was vacated. A couple, a foreigner and a Filipina just paid their bill and took off.

I was surprised when I saw their menu. You can get Shoyu Ramen for only P70. I got tantanmen worth P100. For P20, I got pork add-on. You can have egg for an additional P15 and spice for the same amount.

My order was delivered on my table in under 15 minutes. It was fast considering the place was really full.

The Tantanmen was very good. The noodle was cooked just right. The broth was not as creamy as I would have wanted it to be but it tasted quite well. It has just the right spiciness. It has just a few greens. Just like the place, the ramen looks plain but it was simple good.

Would I come back for it? YES. Would I recommend it to my friends? YES. But I would warn them that it is a simple ramen house, it looks like a carinderia, it has no airconditioning system (obviously, it's open air) and the seats are made of plastic.

Value for money, this place is.

Vest Ramen in Town is along Adriatico St. cor Nakpil.

#bestramen #vestramen #malate

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kris Kringle Gift Ideas this Christmas

Kris Kringle. 'Tis the season of giving gifts. And many offices and groups are having what we love best -- giving surprise gifts. And the best was t do that is via Kris kringle, I don't know how that got that name but I'm quite sure Kris Aquino has no hand at it. lol

Anyway, here are suggestions for some of the common "something" to give your baby or monito/monita.

SOMETHING RED: the usual would be apples, red candies or a set of red pens. For practical and useful gifts you may give red Christmas balls or a pack of red Christmas gift wrappers. Your monito/monita will like it because lines in gift wrapping sections in malls can be too long at this  time. For unique gifts, give a pack of red tomatoes, a kilo of red rice (it's available n some supermarkets like Rustan's) or a can of tomato sause/spaghetti sauce.

SOMETHING SCARY: i don't know why some groups include this as a category for the "something" this season. It's so Halloween haha. But you can buy some horror story books at National Bookstore. A DVD of a horror movie you like.

SOMETHING LONG AND HARD: common gifts would be a pencil or ruler. But you may choose a hula hoop, a train track, a stack of plastic cups (no, not the disposable cups) or a ream of long bond paper.

SOMETHING BIG: if you don't want your identity to be revealed, do not give something that's literally big as it is difficult to carry to the office or wherever your doing your Kris Kringle. Instead, give a box of Zesto BIG or BIGGIE fries or drinks from Wendy's.

SOMETHING YUMMY: of course you'll think of chocolate or cake or whatever you like, But make it a little bit unique by giving a pack of Kopiko (remember their Coco Martin commercial?).

SOMETHING NAUGHTY/SEXY: an FHM magazine will do. Or a sexy underwear from Bench. Or a pack of condoms. Or that souvenir from Baguio.....the man in a barrel or THE ashtray.

SOMETHING SOFT: a pack of cotton come to mind. Or marshmallow. A roll of bathroom tissue is useful. If you want, you can also give a dozen sanitary napkins. Or perhaps a handkerchief. A bottle of shampoo will also be fine to give your monito/monita soft and flowy hair.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Nutrition Week - Fruit and Vgetable Costume Ideas

I got surprised when I saw the increasing number of visits this blog has been getting for two weeks now. The I realized it's July. here in the Philippines, this month is considered as Nutrition Month. And I have several posts about Nutrition Week costumes hence the increase in number of visitors.

If you want unique ideas, please read my previous post. I wrote there suggestions on how you can make homemade costumes (illustration below). I also added ways to use "old" costumes (like Cinderella, Snow White, Mickey Mouse) for Nutrition Week Programs.

Additional ideas:

Come as a cellphone. Yup, you heard that right. Cutout a drawing of the front of an iphone. Make sure it's big enough to cover the front of your body. Then cutout an illustration of the backside of an iphone. Attach them with garter or string so you can wear the costume over your shoulders. Hard to describe -- just look at the illustration below.

Draw fruit slices on a cartolina (white then color according to the fruit that you chose or cut out using colored paper). Attach the "fruit slices" on a skirt. Best fruit for this is orange (see drawing below). You can also try tomato.

You can use balloons to make a  bunch of grapes costume. Just blow several small balloons and attach them together to resemble a bunch of grapes.

Lastly, you can also come as a "fruit ninja". If you're familiar with the game then you know what to do. Let your child wear a ninja costume and let him carry s fruit sliced in half. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Health and Culinary Benefits of Oregano

This summer heat is terrible. Everyone is complaining about it. This heat is making a lot of people sick. That includes me. I've been coughing for several days now probably because of sweating too much -- as the old people say, uubuhin ka pagnatuyuan ng pawis.

Since I always try home remedy first before taking pills, I decided to rely on my childhood cough medicine -- oregano.

When I was a kid, my mother would always boil oregano leaves whenever I have cough. Initially, I did not like the idea of drinking the concoction. But because of my mom's persistence, I learned to like it eventually.

When I was in high school, I found out that oregano is also used for other health purposes. Aside from healing cough and other respiratory tract problems, it is also used for urinary tract infections. They say it also aids in treating gastrointestinal problems.

They say all these is because it has antibacterial properties. On top of that, they also say it has antioxidant properties. Since it is has antioxidant properties, it is safe to say that you can drink this for prevention of different kinds of diseases.

What you need to do is to boil several oregano leaves until they become soft and the water turns greenish. My mom also adds other medicinal plants like sambong leaves and basil. Sometimes, she squeezes calamansi on the concoction to improve its taste (do this once you've removed it from fire).

Aside form health benefits, oregano also has culinary uses. I usually use it when I cook chicken using turbo broiler. I put oregano leaves together with basil, tomatoes, onions and garlic at the bottom of turbo broiler. It gives the chicken a distinct but subtle flavor. It also gives the chicken an appetizing aroma.

I have also tried putting oregano leaves in almondigas (albondigas)-- misua with meatballs. Since almondigas has a very simple taste, adding oregano makes it a little fancier.

I've also used oregano with grilled bangus (milkfish). I added it with the tomato, onion and garlic mix that I stuffed in the belly. My original intention in adding oregano was to mask the smell of the fish (lansa) but I found out that it also added an interesting flavor to it.

If fresh oregano is not available, you can use the dried oregano that's available in most supermarkets. You just rub it on the meat you're going to grill to make it special.

McRib - Ribs or No Ribs

I attended a whole day seminar about Behavior Management conducted by The Medical City Pediatrics Department yesterday. On our way back to Makati City from Pasig, my friend and I decided to drop by McDonald's first to buy something to eat because we knew it was going to be a long ride. It was 5 in the afternoon so traffic was really bad.

I ordered McRib since I've heard about it but have not actually tried it. There are two variants -- McRib and McRib Deluxe. The former has onions and pickles while the latter has lettuce. The former is sold at P129 with small fries and soda while the latter is sold at P149 also with small fries and soda. I chose McRib Deluxe.

At first bite I already concluded that it really tastes like barbecued ribs. The sauce tastes authentic. But I think the one pickles and onions would have been a better choice. I think pickles and onions would be a better match with the sauce. But it was still great.

While we were eating, my friend said she has some friends who didn't like the McRib. For them, it was not good because there's no real ribs. I was surprised at this comment. I mean who would actually think that they will put real ribs on their sandwich. Yes, that's what the name says but honestly, do you really expect them to put ribs there? Go to a fine dining restaurant or a steak house if you want real ribs. The price alone would tell you that it's just burger patty.

I saw on the internet a video showing how McDonald's make McRibs. The video shows that they use real meat which is different from the myths that say they use stuff other than meat.

Anyway, will I have McRib again? Yes. It tastes good for a fastfood sandwich. I'll have it again and this time I'll get the one with pickles and onions. But I'm not trying it again real soon. Probably I'll give it a week or two.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cabalen and Their Food Choices

I had dinner with some friends at Cabalen restaurant last Friday. It was an unplanned trip to the mall so we didn't make reservations. Fortunately, there weren't a lot of people when we arrived so we were seated right away.

The first thing I noticed with their dishes is that many of them were vegetables. There were still meat and seafood dishes but it felt like they were reduced. If you are not fond of vegetables, you will definitely feel shortchanged. The good thing is they still have lechon. And unlike in the past, their lechon has greatly improved. The meat tastes good even without the lechon sauce. The skin is also crispy unlike before when they were usually rubbery.

Dessert choices has also lessened. They still have the halo-halo that many people actually looked for. They also have chocolate fountain with nothing but marshmallows to dip. I didn't see sliced fruits so I had to ask for bananas which I always like to dip in the hot chocolate fountain. They gave me bananas -- unpeeled -- so I had to peel it on my own. Sliced apples would have been nice too but there weren't any.

I was happy with the lechon, sisig and spicy tahong but overall, I wasn't satisfied. I mean I ate a lot of these three so I left Cabalen full but I was not really satisfied with the limited choices.

I understand that it is priced lower than Vikings or Buffet 101 but those restaurants have so many choices you wouldn't really mind paying that much. Cabalen's buffet dinner is just P398. This is lower than the P888 of buffet dinner at Vikings and P899 at Buffet 101 on weekdays but it still feels more expensive because of the limited choices.

I do hope they will improve their food choices in the future so the P398 would feel more acceptable.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Arana't Baluarte -- Chandeliers and Arches

I was feeling sad last night since I was not able to go home to the province for the Arana't Baluarte 2015. It's a festival in honor of San Isidro Labrador. It's similar to the one of Lucban, Quezon's Pahiyas. But instead of decorating houses, what we have in our town are Baluarte or Arches where Arana or Chandeliers are placed. Each chandelier is designed with fruits and vegetables. This is like thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. Remember, San Isidro is the patron Saint of farmers.

These arches line the major streets in town where the procession will pass by later in the afternoon. As soon as the procession pass by an arch, the chandeliers will be released/dropped for the people to get their share of fruits and vegetables. It can be rowdy at times because naturally, the people would want to get as much bounty as they can. But in spite of the rowdiness, it is generally fun.

In the past, the arches which are usually made of bamboo are kept plain and simple. But through the years, people started to design these arches such that they are now really fabulous looking. Then it became a contest. Each barangay or cluster of barangays has its own arch to design. Now, you'll really be amazed at the creativity of the people in charge of designing these arches.

I've compiled some pictures I got from facebook pages of my pamangkins for you to see. Thanks Karen and myleen.

Gumaca, Quezon

This arch or baluarte is near our house.

Arch by one of the barangay clusters.

Believe it or not, this is an arch.

The chandeliers or arana.

These chandeliers will be dropped as soon as the last part of the procession pass.

Although the main even is in the afternoon, many people are already going around town to see the arches.